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Archeologist challenges Ponce de León myths

St. Augustine, FL - Jan. 14, 2013 -- As Florida celebrates 500 years in 2013, the world’s leading light station and maritime museum, The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum is determined to set the record straight. There are many myths concerning Ponce de León’s discovery of Florida. While some myths are entertaining and fun, some myths can be very confusing and misleading. And the Lighthouse’s Director of Archaeology, Dr. Sam Turner wants to debunk a few of them.

“Many believe that Ponce de León sailed in search of the Fountain of Youth”, said Dr. Turner, “Or that he sailed directly from Spain to what would one day soon be named Florida. Some believe that April 2 was the first sighting of the coast of Florida by Ponce de León and his crew when it actually was March 27, 1513. But maybe the biggest misconception would be that he landed in Melbourne Beach, Florida.”

Dr. Turner is a maritime history expert and is currently working on writing a book about Ponce de León. He will begin a new series on Ponce De Leon and his La Florida 500th Anniversary Journey beginning Sunday, January 20 on the Lighthouse’s website www.staugustinelighthouse.org.

Dr. Sam Turner studied history as an undergraduate student at Antioch College and took a master’s degree in Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. His doctorate is from King’s College of the University of London in Spanish and Spanish-American Studies. He has lived in St. Augustine since 2006, doing research for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, a Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program.

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